What do new hairs mean?
New hairs are wonderful to see because they remind us of what we are often hoping for - hair regrowth!
But new hairs can mean several things. Sometimes they indicate overall regrowth and a trend towards a patient experiencing an improvement, but not always.
The appearance of new hairs can mean:
1. Regrowth with treatment. This usually meNs density will likely get better over time.
2. Regrowth of a vellus hair. In androgenetic hair loss, these hairs just stay small and the patient gets no improvement in density. In this case the new hairs seen do not signify a positive sign.
3. Regrowth in telogen effluvium. In telogen effluvium, there are more new hairs on the scalp than normal because the once shed hairs have returned. If the “trigger” for the telogen effluvium has been discovered and treated the hair density may increase. If the trigger has not been found the density won’t increase and these new little hairs may eventually fall out prematurely.
4. Regrowth of a sick struggling hair in scarring alopecia. Small hairs, similar to the one shown in the photo can be seen in scarring alopecias as well. These hairs are doing their best to grow but are too injured from all the surrounding inflammation and scar tissue to keep growing. They eventually fall out.
5. Regrowth in alopecia areata. A large number of regrowing hairs is generally a good sign. Sparse regrowing hairs is not and may mean the disease is still active.
6. Normal regrowth. Hairs are always growing on the healthy scalp. A new hair can be found on the vast majority of people’s scalp.
New regrowth is exciting. It is important to understand that this may mean something good and positive, but it may not. Many patients see new hairs and notice over time their hair density improves. Other patients see new hairs and are surprised to discover that the hair is not improving.
Dr. Jeff Donovan is a Canadian and US board certified dermatologist specializing exclusively in hair loss. To schedule a consultation, please call the Whistler office at 604.283.1887